Treatment For Acute Hepatitis B
If you’re diagnosed with hepatitis B, your GP will usually refer you to a specialist, such as a hepatologist .
Many people do not have any troublesome symptoms, but if you do feel unwell, it can help to:
- get plenty of rest
- take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, for tummy pain
- maintain a cool, well-ventilated environment, wear loose clothing, and avoid hot baths or showers if itching is a problem
- take medication, such as metoclopramide, to stop you feeling sick, and chlorphenamine to reduce itching your doctor can give you a prescription for these if necessary
Most people recover completely in a couple of months, but you’ll be advised to have regular blood tests to check that you’re free of the virus and have not developed chronic hepatitis B.
How Do You Get Hepatitis A
The main way you get hepatitis A is when you eat or drink something that has the hep A virus in it. A lot of times this happens in a restaurant. If an infected worker there doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom, and then touches food, they could pass the disease to you.
Food or drinks you buy at the supermarket can sometimes cause the disease, too. The ones most likely to get contaminated are:
- Ice and water
Another way you can get hep A is when you have sex with someone who has it.
Are Hepatitis B And C Preventable
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease.
There is a three-shot vaccination series that is very effective in protecting people against the virus if theyre exposed. In the United States, all newborns are vaccinated for hepatitis B and all pregnant women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. This way, mothers infected with hepatitis B can take protective steps to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to the child.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Also Check: Can You Catch Hepatitis C
Can You Drink Alcohol If You Have Hepatitis C
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C viral infection causes this inflammation. There are several risk factors for contracting HCV infection due to the hepatitis C virus. One serious risk factor is drinking alcohol with HCV infection. The combination of HCV and alcohol can cause complications, and may result in more severe and serious liver injury including chronic cirrhosis . It also increases your chances of developing liver cancer having an alcohol induced increase in viral replication and rapid mutation of the hep C virus,which creates complications like:
- Greater viral capacity
Hepatitis refers to any cause of liver inflammation, with or without scarring of the liver . It is contagious, and is spread from person-to-person by blood-to-blood contact. Other viral causes of hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, and E. Other types of noninfectious causes of hepatitis include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Medications such as some prescription medications or even acetaminophen, for example, Tylenol liver damage and drug induced liver disease.
- Bacteria and viruses other than the hepatitis viruses
How are hepatitis A, B, and E spread?
- Transmission of hepatitis A and E: These forms of the virus are acquired from improper hygiene during food or drink preparation by someone who’s infected.
- Transmission of hepatitis B: This form is spread by blood-to-blood or sexual contact.
Hiv And Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Coinfection
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus. Because these infections can be spread in the same ways as HIV, people with HIV in the United States are often also affected by chronic viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to HBV or HCV, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.
Given the risks of hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection to the health of people living with HIV, it is important to understand these risks, take steps to prevent infection, know your status, and, if necessary, get medical care from someone who is experienced in treating people who are coinfected with HIV and HBV, or HIV and HCV.
You May Like: Who To Screen For Hepatitis C
How Are Hepatitis B And C Treated
Hepatitis B: Not all patients with chronic hepatitis B infection require treatment. At Yale Medicine, specialists decide on an individual basis whether a patient is an appropriate candidate for treatment. Generally, patients require treatment when their hepatitis B virus level is high, and when laboratory tests demonstrate significant inflammation or injury to the liver.
There are currently seven approved drugs for hepatitis B, two of which are considered to be first-line treatments. These drugs are oral pills taken once daily, and while they’re very effective at suppressing the virus to very low or undetectable levels over the long term, they are not considered curative.
Therefore, the goal of treatment is to control the virus long-term and decrease the risk of hepatitis B related complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis C: For the greater part of the last 20 years, treatment of hepatitis C required the use of a chemotherapy-like injection drug called interferon, which has been associated with serious side effects and a low cure rate. Fortunately, advances in hepatitis C treatments within the last three years now allow for the use of oral medications that are significant improvements in terms of safety and effectiveness.
Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Hepatitis C
The combination of any cause of hepatitis, such as alcohol on top of HCV, adds to and accelerates liver damage. Both hepatitis B and C can cause chronic hepatitis and progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer, although the disease is much more likely to become chronic in the U.S. Therefore, people with chronic HCV should not drink alcohol and should talk to a doctor about vaccines for other hepatitis viruses.
Also Check: How Is Hepatitis B Contracted
Is Everyone Tested For Both Hepatitis B And C
The US Centers for Disease and Control recommends testing for certain high-risk groups for hepatitis B.
- High-risk groups include people not born in the US, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and people with hepatitis C, among other groups.
- If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B, contact your doctor right away. A treatment is available that may reduce your risk of infection if you receive this medicine within 24 hours of exposure to the virus.
The CDC recommends that all adults 18 years and older be tested for hepatitis C at least once. Pregnant women should be tested during each pregnancy. Getting tested for hepatitis C is important, because HCV treatments can cure most people in 8 to 12 weeks. If you are at higher risk for HCV, youll need to be tested more frequently.
Treatments for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are in a class called antivirals, but the medications that are used are different.
Nibima: Ghanaian Scientists Find Cheaper Cure For Hepatitis B
According to the World Health Organization, over 60 million people in Africa have hepatitis B accounting for over 60,000 deaths annually.
Beyond the high cost of treatment drugs, the drugs are less accessible and come with many side effects.
Fortunately, some Ghanaian scientists are exploring cheaper sources of treatments that are less toxic and readily available.
They have successfully been able to completely cure a hepatitis B patient with a locally made FDA-approved antimalarial drug known as Nibima in a finding contained in the journal Scientific African.
Individuals with chronic HBV infection have an increased risk of liver disease and a type of liver cancer known hepatocellular carcinoma.
Fortunately, Hepatitis B screening, vaccination and treatment are increasingly available in many government and private health facilities.
Screening costs about Ghc 30 and the 3-dose vaccination costs Ghc 40 per dose. If infected, the medication for the 6-month treatment is about Ghc 80 per month.
These costs are not covered by the National Health Insurance program, and many cannot afford them.
Lead investigator, Professor Mohammed Mutocheluh, revealed the locally manufactured herbal formulation known as Nibima has the potency for treating viral hepatitis after proving a 99% anti-viral efficacy.
Prof. Mutocheluh again explained the herbal preparation could provide a cheaper and effective alternative intervention to treat the over 3 million chronically infected persons in Ghana.
Also Check: Do You Die From Hepatitis C
Treatment For Chronic Hepatitis B
If blood tests show that you still have hepatitis B after 6 months, your doctor may recommend medication to reduce the risk of complications of hepatitis B and regular tests to assess the health of your liver.
Treatment is usually offered if:
- your immune system is unable to control the hepatitis B by itself
- there’s evidence of ongoing liver damage
Hepatitis B medications can help keep the virus under control and stop it damaging your liver, although they will not necessarily cure the infection and some people need lifelong treatment.
The main medicines for chronic hepatitis B include peginterferon alfa 2-a and antiviral medicines.
Differences In Hepatitis B And C Treatments
Guidelines for the medical treatment of a co-infection with hepatitis B and C have not been clearly set, according to Ibrahim Hanouneh, MD, a hepatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. There are scant data and no standard-of-care recommendations, he says. But limited research suggests treatment for hepatitis C is still effective even in the presence of the hepatitis B virus, he adds.
Medications for hepatitis C have improved dramatically in recent years. Not only are newer hepatitis C drugs easier for people to take, with fewer and less severe side effects, but they’re also effective, Alqahtani says, and cure rates are excellent.
For chronic hepatitis B infection, however, there’s currently no cure. Treatment involves slowing the progression of the virus and monitoring people for signs of liver damage, according to the CDC.
For this reason, Alqahtani says, doctors try to determine which virus is dominant in people with co-infection. We check the liver to see which virus is more active,” he says. “If its hepatitis C, we treat that virus first.” Once it’s cured, he says, the focus of treatment shifts to controlling hepatitis B.
Treatment for co-infection comes with specific concerns that should be monitored by your healthcare team, including:
- Liver transplant may be an option: People who develop severe cases of co-infection that result in liver failure may be candidates for liver transplant, Alqahtani says.
Also Check: Royal Canin Hepatic Dog Food Side Effects
There Is No Vaccine For Hepatitis C
But, did you know?
- Hepatitis C can be treated with medication that has cure rates > 90%.
- Earlier diagnosis and treatment lead to better health outcomes.
- Early treatment may even prevent liver disease, liver cancer, or cirrhosis.
Testing is quick and simple with a blood test.
Ask your health care provider for a test if you think you could have hepatitis C.
The best way to know is to get tested.
To learn about how to protect yourself and where you can get tested, visit Canada.ca and search ‘hepatitis C.’
How Common Is Hepatitis Co
About 2.7 million people living in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, while some 1.2 million have hepatitis B, according to the CDC. Far fewer have both infections. An found that only about 1.4 percent of U.S. veterans who had hepatitis C were also infected with hepatitis B.
The main reason that people may develop both infections, Dr. Alqahtani says, is that they can be transmitted in similar ways. Since these viruses share similar methods of transmission, co-infection can become more common, he points out. That includes exposure to contaminated blood.
Both hepatitis B and C can be spread through blood transfusions or injections during medical procedures, according to the World Health Organization , if blood has not been effectively screened. Sharing needles is a common method of transmitting hepatitis C in the United States, but its also a method for transmitting hepatitis B, says Alqahtani. In addition to blood, hepatitis B can be spread through other body fluids like semen.
You are at a higher risk of having a hepatitis C infection if you are in any of the following groups listed by the CDC:
- Injection drug user
RELATED: Are You at Risk for Hepatitis C?
Also Check: Can I Donate Blood If I Had Hepatitis A
Deaths From Hepatitis B And C Infections Rising Worldwide
Learning from the hepatitis C experience and with better understanding of the biology of hepatitis B virus and improved animal models, pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs that target different steps of the hepatitis B virus life cycle. While a cure for hepatitis B will be more challenging because it can integrate into the patients DNA, enabling it to evade the patients immune response, I am optimistic that we will witness the availability of new combinations of drugs that will move us nearer the goal of a hepatitis B cure.
Members of Delhi Network of Positive People, a support group for HIV-positive people, in 2014 urged the Indian government to allow production of generic versions of direct-acting antivirals that could help thousands get affordable oral doses of medicine to control hepatitis C. Infection progresses more rapidly to damage the liver in HIV-positive patients.Saurabh Das/AP Photo
But the news is not all positive. While weve seen mortality rates from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria decline in recent years, deaths from hepatitis B and C have risen. Globally, an estimated 257 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus infection, and 71 million have chronic hepatitis C virus. Together hepatitis B and C caused more than 1.34 million deaths in 2015. This led the World Health Organization to challenge countries around the world to develop national plans to eliminate these two viruses by 2030.
How Common Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is fairly common in Africa and the western Pacific region. Throughout the world, there are about 292 million people who are infected with chronic hepatitis B. In the U.S., the figure exceeds 2 million people.
The number of infections had been falling in the U.S., but fewer vaccinations among adults combined with the onset of the opioid crisis and injected drug usage has resulted in the numbers rising again. Infected women can pass the infection on to their babies. Children who are infected before age 5 are more likely to have chronic infection than those infected later in life.
Also Check: Hep C Without Hepatic Coma
How Is Hepatitis B Spread
You can become infected with hepatitis B through exposure to blood, semen and other bodily fluids of an infected person. You can get the infection by:
- Having unprotected sex.
- Sharing or using dirty needles for drug use, tattoos or piercing.
- Sharing everyday items that may contain body fluids, including razors, toothbrushes, jewelry for piercings and nail clippers.
- Being treated medically by someone who does not use sterile instruments.
- Being bitten by someone with the infection.
- Being born to a pregnant woman with the infection.
Hepatitis B is not spread by:
- Kissing on the cheek or lips.
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Hugging, shaking hands or holding hands.
- Eating food that someone with the infection has prepared.
How Long Does It Take To Cure Hepatitis C
Depending on the drug combination, the specific genotype of hepatitis C that is to be treated, any prior treatment, and whether the person has cirrhosis, the duration of medical therapy may be as few as 8 weeks, or up to 24 weeks. Most regimens are for 12 consecutive weeks. This is much shorter than the interferon-based treatments years ago that lasted up to 48 weeks. Generally, a person is not considered “cured” until the “RNA viral load” is undetectable for 24 weeks after therapy is stopped. This is called “sustained virologic response” or SVR.
The presence of cirrhosis or liver fibrosis is determined by liver biopsy, noninvasive fibrosis scans, or formulas that estimate liver fibrosis based on blood tests, such as AST-to-platelet Ratio Index or Fibrosis-4 Index.3
A very important aspect of treatment is the elimination of all alcohol consumption. Alcohol adds fuel to the fire when it comes to chronic hepatitis. Drinking alcohol greatly worsens liver fibrosis and speeds progression to cirrhosis, and there is no “safe” amount to drink for someone with chronic hepatitis. Drinking alcohol also makes it harder for the medications to be effective and may interfere with proper dosing.
You May Like: Hepatitis B Treatment Side Effects
What Are The Symptoms
What happens to you when you contract hepatitis B depends largely on the age at which you first become infected and how well your immune system copes with the virus. If you are infected as an adult, you may have a brief illness with mild or moderate symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and loss of appetite. As an adult, you have a 95% chance of clearing the infection completely and developing lifelong protection against this virus. The acute infection rarely leads to severe illness that requires a liver transplant.
Most babies and children exposed to this virus never have signs and symptoms. Unfortunately, they are more likely to become carriers of hepatitis B for life because their immune system is unable to fight and clear the virus from their body. In these cases, chronic infections are often not detected or picked up until much later in life when the person becomes seriously ill with liver disease.
Chronic hepatitis B infection goes through different phases that also show how well your body is coping with the virus. Although most people with chronic hepatitis B have an inactive disease and will remain healthy, about one in four will have active disease that may lead to cirrhosis , liver failure, and liver cancer.
People who are healthy with an inactive disease may still be at risk of virus reactivation, especially when their immune system is weakened by medicines such as chemotherapy or by other viral infections.